Build vs Buy vs Partner: Big Banks and Quantum Technology

In March 2021, Patent Forecast reported how Bank of America was extending its interests in quantum technology to hardware. However, it’s worth noting how BofA’s strategy contrasts with other big banks. In September 2021, Goldman Sachs announced that it partnered with QC Ware to use IonQ’s quantum computer for performing Monte Carlo simulations. Goldman Sachs itself has no patents in the Quantum Computing sector, but QC Ware has patents covering methods of operating and utilizing quantum computers and IonQ has patents covering hardware for a quantum computer. Meanwhile, other big banks, such as Wells Fargo, also acknowledged in 2019 that quantum computing would be a central task, but have not yet made any effort to build an IP portfolio supporting the claim. 

Beyond its strategy in approaching IP, Bank of America’s quantum focus looks much different than that of Goldman Sachs. While Bank of America’s patents tend to focus on protecting from quantum hackers, Goldman Sachs’ partnership concerns using the computers to solve problems in calculating risk and simulating future price levels. This reflects a divided concern with consumer banking protection on the part of BofA and investment banking on the part of Goldman Sachs. As quantum computing matures, it will be important to look at how different financial institutions respond to see whether the build, buy, or partner strategies are going to win out. For more on quantum computing and finance, follow the Quantum Computing Patent Forecast®.